South Yorkshire fishing firm raises £1.5m

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A fishing shop, started by a schoolboy 30 years ago, has raised £1.5 million after it was floated on the Alternative Investment Market.

Now with seven stores and two online shops, the Rotherham-headquartered Fishing Republic formed by chief executive Steve Gross will have a market capitalisation of £3.6m.

Miton Capital Partners is the largest new investor, putting in £500,000 to acquire 14 per cent.

Mr Gross and his wife, and operations director, Zoe, will hold 46.6 per cent of the enlarged share capital - worth £1.66m - while his father John will hold 5.7 per cent and brother-in-law Paul 5.2 per cent.

Mr Gross said: “I started fly-tying when I was about seven and then set up a fly-tying business aged 13.

“Since then I haven’t looked back and fishing and the business of selling fishing tackle have remained my passions.

“No one to my knowledge has tried to consolidate the fishing tackle market before and my aim now is to do just that.

“I see an exciting opportunity to build Fishing Republic into a significant market presence.

“We have the benefit of first-mover advantage, a wide knowledge of both the retail and wholesale fishing tackle marketplace and staff who are passionate about fishing.”

Three years after starting Stephen Gross Flies as a 13-year-old, it moved into its first premises in Mexborough, and in 1991 he incorporated the business.

It opened its first retail outlet in 1999 and in 2005 launched its first store branded as Fishing Republic in Barnsley, followed a year later by Manchester and Hull.

The firm plans to add to its seven stores by expanding into Birmingham and elsewhere. The stores sell all kinds of equipment for the fishing industry, including bait, clothing and kits.